Kirinyaga County Government has announced the absorption of all the county’s Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) teachers into a permanent and pensionable scheme of service.
The new scheme will benefit all the 420 teachers who have been serving under three years’ contract terms.
Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru in a speech read on her behalf by the County Executive Committee (CEC) Member for Education, James Kinyua Mutugi at Kaitheri Youth Polytechnic, Kerugoya, said the new scheme will take effect from July this year.
“I am delighted to announce that the county has finalized the plans to absorb our ECDE teachers into permanent and pensionable terms,” Mutugi reads.
ECDE Teachers Certificate holders will enter at Job Group G, Diploma holders will enter at Job Group H while degree holders will enter at Job Group K.
Waiguru said that the move will not only empower the teachers and facilitate their personal growth, but will also motivate them to offer the best services to about 15,000 learners across the county.
She said that over the past five years, her administration has supported the 198 ECDE centers through improvement of infrastructure and distribution of learning and teaching materials.
“The county has so far established 198 centers and fully equipped them, but as the need arises we shall expand as well increase the number of teachers,” she added.
Finance CEC, Jackline Njogu, said to implement the scheme, the county government has in this financial year set aside an additional Sh106 million to go into the payment of salaries under the new scheme.
This is in addition to the Sh72 million budget that has been there before. The County Government will also pay for the teachers’ retirement benefits through the County Pension Fund.
“We have set aside additional Sh106 million in this financial year towards the salaries of the ECDE teachers, this will bring the total to Sh178 million given we have been having Sh72 million before,” Ms Njogu said.
“Survey has shown that our continued investment in the ECDE sector has resulted in an increase in enrollment in our centers as some parents who would previously enroll their children in private centres are now settling for public ones,” she said.
On his part, CEC Mutugi encouraged the teachers to advance their academic qualifications since the new scheme has room for promotion. The CEC said the delay has been due to legal frameworks and now it has been implemented in strict observance of labour laws and all relevant legal statutes.
“Those who are still young can now go for further studies because there is room for promotions in the new scheme of service,” Mutugi urged. “This program was delayed because of laws and procedures to be followed. The county could not implement what could have raised audit and legal queries in future.”
The teachers could not hide their joy and thanked the governor for the consideration saying that it came as a great relief to them. Ms Winny Wairimu, a teacher at Kimbimbi ECDE center, said they never saw it coming but finally the county government has restored hopes for the teachers.
“We want to thank Governor Anne Waiguru for looking into our plight and restoring the dignity of an ECDE teacher,” Wairimu said.
Another ECDE teacher, Simon Kariuki, said they are delighted to be permanent employees, giving them an opportunity to access pension upon retirement.
The County Executive Committee Member for Lands, Rev. Peter Kanjobe, said that the county government will be issuing all the public primary schools with title deeds.
By Mutai Kipngetich